Media & Entertainment

Apple launches its Siri-only Apple Music Voice Plan with iOS 15.2

Comment

Apple Music voice plan
Image Credits: Apple

Apple is now rolling out access to its new, lower-cost Apple Music Voice plan, first introduced this fall at the company’s hardware event. The new service, designed largely for use with HomePod speakers or AirPods, limits consumers to accessing Apple Music using Siri commands. Due to its stripped-down nature, the voice-only service is offered at $4.99 per month, compared with $9.99 per month for a standard individual plan.

The new music subscription is a part of the broader iOS 15.2 update, which also brings other features like app privacy reports, Message safety warnings for children, a “Hide My Email” privacy feature and more.

Initially, some people may have been confused as to why anyone would want a music subscription designed only to be used by way of voice commands. But Apple was not the first company to go this route.

In 2019, Amazon introduced a more affordable way to stream its Amazon Music service with the launch of a free, ad-supported tier that streamed only over its Echo speakers. In other words, it was a version of Amazon Music that could only be accessed by way of Alexa commands.

Apple’s Siri-only service is similar, but isn’t restricted to Apple’s smart speakers alone. Instead, Apple says users will be able to request music using any of their Siri-enabled devices, including the HomePod, AirPods, iPhone or other devices, as well as CarPlay.

The new voice-only tier isn’t a pared-down version of Apple Music with a limited song selection. Like traditional subscriptions, subscribers will gain access to Apple Music’s catalog of 90 million songs, its tens of thousands of playlists and its hundreds of new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes and genre stations. It also includes Apple Music Radio.

To access this content, users can request a song, album or artist via Siri, or, more likely, they can ask for a genre or type of playlist by using voice commands like “play something chill,” or “play the dinner party playlist” or even “play more like this.”

Voice Plan subscribers can also use the Apple Music app to some extent. But instead of being able to browse across the full library, as usual, a “Listen Now” screen will present music they had recently played and will help them to discover more recommendations that can be played with either a tap or a Siri command. A Radio tab will offer access to live and on-demand radio. And there is a Search feature, but you can only play the results by asking Siri. The app will also include a section that teaches users how to optimize Siri for Apple Music.

Users can give Siri specific feedback by saying things like “I like this song,” or “I don’t like this song,” and learn about the music being played by asking things like who sings a song, the song or album name, the release year and more.

Over time, users who engage with Apple Music with their voice will be training Siri to better understand their preferences. That means they’ll be able to ask Siri to “play some music I like” or “play my favorites mix” and Siri, in theory, will deliver music they enjoy listening to.

In addition to being competitive with Amazon’s Echo-only plan, the Apple Music Voice Plan could help Apple gain access to a trove of user data on Siri usage, which could help it to improve its product, which has lagged behind both Alexa and Google Assistant. More broadly, it’s also just an easy way for Apple to entice price-sensitive users to try out a paid music subscription service for the first time. Further down the road, the voice plan could lead these users into higher-priced tiers after they realize the convenience of having access to on-demand and ad-free music, instead of relying on a free, ad-supported option like Pandora.

The Apple Music Voice is available via the iOS 15.2 update in Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.

More TechCrunch

Some startups choose to bootstrap from the beginning while others find themselves forced into self funding by a lack of investor interest or a business model that doesn’t fit traditional…

VCs wanted FarmboxRx to become a meal kit, the company bootstrapped instead

Uber and Lyft drivers in Minnesota will see higher pay thanks to a deal between the state and the country’s two largest ride-hailing companies. The upshot: a new law that…

Uber and Lyft’s ride-hailing deal with Minnesota comes with a cost

Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism fund has established a new fellowship program aimed at introducing top engineers and technologists to venture investing, a move that could help the firm identify less…

a16z’s American Dynamism team launches program to introduce technical minds to VC

Another fintech startup, and its customers, has been gravely impacted by the implosion of banking-as-a-service startup Synapse. Copper Banking, a digital banking service aimed at teens, notified its customers on…

Teen fintech Copper had to abruptly discontinue its banking, debit products

Autodesk — the 3D tools behemoth — has acquired Wonder Dynamics, a startup that lets creators quickly and easily make complex characters and visual effects using AI-powered image analysis. The…

Autodesk acquires AI-powered VFX startup Wonder Dynamics

Farcaster, a blockchain-based social protocol founded by two Coinbase alumni, announced on Tuesday that it closed a $150 million fundraise. Led by Paradigm, the platform also raised money from a16z…

Farcaster, a crypto-based social network, raised $150M with just 80K daily users

Microsoft announced on Tuesday during its annual Build conference that it’s bringing “Windows Volumetric Apps” to Meta Quest headsets. The partnership will allow Microsoft to bring Windows 365 and local…

Microsoft’s new ‘Volumetric Apps’ for Quest headsets extend Windows apps into the 3D space

The spam reached Bluesky by first crossing over two other decentralized networks: Mastodon and Nostr.

The ‘vote Trump’ spam that hit Bluesky in May came from decentralized rival Nostr

Welcome to TechCrunch Fintech! This week, we’re looking at the continued fallout from Synapse’s bankruptcy, how Layer wants to disrupt SMB accounting, and much more! To get a roundup of…

There’s a real appetite for a fintech alternative to QuickBooks

The company is hoping to produce electricity at $13 per megawatt hour, which would be more than 50% cheaper than traditional onshore wind.

Bill Gates-backed wind startup AirLoom is raising $12M, filings reveal

Generative AI makes stuff up. It can be biased. Sometimes it spits out toxic text. So can it be “safe”? Rick Caccia, the CEO of WitnessAI, believes it can. “Securing…

WitnessAI is building guardrails for generative AI models

It’s not often that you hear about a seed round above $10 million. H, a startup based in Paris and previously known as Holistic AI, has announced a $220 million…

French AI startup H raises $220M seed round

Hey there, Series A to B startups with $35 million or less in funding — we’ve got an exciting opportunity that’s tailor-made for your growth journey! If you’re looking to…

Boost your startup’s growth with a ScaleUp package at TC Disrupt 2024

TikTok is pulling out all the stops to prevent its impending ban in the United States. Aside from initiating legal action against the U.S. government, that means shaping up its…

As a US ban looms, TikTok announces a $1M program for socially driven creators

Microsoft wants to put its Copilot everywhere. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft renames its annual Build developer conference to Microsoft Copilot. Hopefully, some of those upcoming events…

Microsoft’s Power Automate no-code platform adds AI flows

Build is Microsoft’s largest developer conference and of course, it’s all about AI this year. So it’s no surprise that GitHub’s Copilot, GitHub’s “AI pair programming tool,” is taking center…

GitHub Copilot gets extensions

Microsoft wants to make its brand of generative AI more useful for teams — specifically teams across corporations and large enterprise organizations. This morning at its annual Build dev conference,…

Microsoft intros a Copilot for teams

Microsoft’s big focus at this year’s Build conference is generative AI. And to that end, the tech giant announced a series of updates to its platforms for building generative AI-powered…

Microsoft upgrades its AI app-building platforms

The U.K.’s data protection watchdog has closed an almost year-long investigation of Snap’s AI chatbot, My AI — saying it’s satisfied the social media firm has addressed concerns about risks…

UK data protection watchdog ends privacy probe of Snap’s GenAI chatbot, but warns industry

U.S. cell carrier Patriot Mobile experienced a data breach that included subscribers’ personal information, including full names, email addresses, home ZIP codes and account PINs, TechCrunch has learned. Patriot Mobile,…

Conservative cell carrier Patriot Mobile hit by data breach

It’s been three years since Spotify acquired live audio startup Betty Labs, and yet the music streaming service isn’t leveraging the technology to its fullest potential — at least not…

Spotify’s ‘Listening Party’ feature falls short of expectations

Alchemist Accelerator has a new pile of AI-forward companies demoing their wares today, if you care to watch, and the program itself is making some international moves into Tokyo and…

Alchemist’s latest batch puts AI to work as accelerator expands to Tokyo, Doha

“Late Pledge” allows campaign creators to continue collecting money even after the campaign has closed.

Kickstarter now lets you pledge after a campaign closes

Stack AI’s co-founders, Antoni Rosinol and Bernardo Aceituno, were PhD students at MIT wrapping up their degrees in 2022 just as large language models were becoming more mainstream. ChatGPT would…

Stack AI wants to make it easier to build AI-fueled workflows

Pinecone, the vector database startup founded by Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI Labs, has long been at the forefront of helping businesses augment large language models (LLMs)…

Pinecone launches its serverless vector database out of preview

Young geothermal energy wells can be like budding prodigies, each brimming with potential to outshine their peers. But like people, most decline with age. In California, for example, the amount…

Special mud helps XGS Energy get more power out of geothermal wells

Featured Article

Sonos finally made some headphones

The market play is clear from the outset: The $449 headphones are firmly targeted at an audience that would otherwise be purchasing the Bose QC Ultra or Apple AirPods Max.

8 hours ago
Sonos finally made some headphones

Adobe says the feature is up to the task, regardless of how complex of a background the object is set against.

Adobe brings Firefly AI-powered Generative Remove to Lightroom

All cars suffer when the mercury drops, but electric vehicles suffer more than most as heaters draw more power and batteries charge more slowly as the liquid electrolyte inside thickens.…

Porsche Ventures invests in battery startup South 8 to boost cold-weather EV performance

Scale AI has raised a $1 billion Series F round from a slew of big-name institutional and corporate investors including Amazon and Meta.

Data-labeling startup Scale AI raises $1B as valuation doubles to $13.8B